- Posted February 6, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Life in China
- Why freedom of speech matters: The silenced struggle in Tibet
- Chinese colonialism in Tibet causes cultural identity crisis
- Chinese colonialism in Tibet causes cultural identity crisis
- A half century of blood and tears: Tibet still under occupation
- Tibetan father of two set himself on fire to protest China's rule in Tibet
Tibet is not seeking separation from China: Dalai Lama
While calling for peaceful and non-violent solution, the Tibetan spiritual leader blamed communist hardliners at the helm in China for attempting to obliterate Tibet's cultural and historical legacy. Advising that we won't solve our problems any longer by use of force, that in the 21st century the use of force is out of date, not least because it is always accompanied by unexpected consequences, His Holiness stressed the need to employ non-violence.
He reiterated his longstanding advocacy of a non-violent solution to the Tibetan problem. "A solution that does not seek victory for one side and defeat for the other; a mutually acceptable solution. He said that while Tibetans are not seeking separation from China, the past was different. In the 7th century, three emperors commanded respect in Central Asia, the Chinese, Mongolian and the Tibetan," he said delivering the First Lawyers' Book Stall Founders' Commemorative Lecture here.
He expressed his admiration for the European Union that has forged a working partnership among nations who have fought each other brutally in the past. 'It is an example of how reconciliation resolves conflict. Secular ethics, concern for others, are crucial to the success of the use of non-violence.'
While inaugurating the first edition of the Festival of Tibet later His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the hardliners were leaving no stone unturned to restrict people from learning about Tibet's rich cultural history and heritage. Also present at the inauguration of the event was Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi who said that he was a firm believer of Buddha.
"Tibet is one ancient nation that is dying and its people are in danger. Chinese hardliners are putting restrictions on people who would like to learn about Tibetan Buddhism. These very hardliners are omitting Buddhist signs and concepts from books and putting restrictions on Tibetan language as well," the Dalai Lama said.
"But despite strict restrictions more and more Chinese people are taking interest in Tibet and its legacy. Their number can be put at around 400 million and it is fast increasing. Tibetan culture is about compassion and it is important we create awareness about the place through such festivals," he added.
Citing the example of one of his mentors who spent 18 years in a Chinese gulag to highlight the spirit of human endurance and compassion, the 78-year-old Nobel laureate also stressed on the importance of holding on to humanitarian value in the present times.
In response to a question about the role of the Tibetan plateau in climate change, His Holiness spoke about the findings of a Chinese ecologist who noted that Tibet was as important as the North and South poles. Consequently, he referred to Tibet as the Third Pole. He expressed the hope that the President and new government in China will take a more realistic view of this.
"Similarly, when we see pictures of the earth from space, we see no boundaries between us, just this one blue planet; a place where climate change affects us all, where the global economy brings us all together. In the past, Tibet surrounded by mountains cherished its isolation, as I suspect Assam did too. But, such isolation is outdated. Today, we need to take into account the well-being of the whole of humanity and we need to work to preserve the health of the planet."
On the same day, His Holiness was joined at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the elected Tibetan leader Dr Lobsang Sangay to inaugurate the first ever Festival of Tibet to be held in North-east India.
They lit a Tibetan butter lamp. Abbot of Tawang Monastery, Guru Rinpoche, led a group of monks in prayers. Pema Khandu, Minister of Tourism and Rural Works Development in the Government of Arunachal Pradesh gave an introduction, thanking His Holiness for coming and extolling the opportunity to share Tibetan art and culture with people of the North-East.
In his turn the Chief Minister mentioned what an honour it was to have His Holiness in Assam. He noted that in a conflict stricken world it was a blessing to listen to His Holiness's message of compassion and reconciliation.
"It's a great honour for me to open this Festival of Tibet, His Holiness said, adding that he was happy to have been able to come. His Holiness also congratulated the organizers for deciding to do it of their own accord. "Whenever I meet other people like this I think of myself as just another one of the 7 billion human beings alive today."
"On that human level I find it's easy to communicate," he said, adding: "If I were to stress instead our differences, that I'm a Tibetan, a Buddhist or even that I'm His Holiness the Dalai Lama, it would only serve to distance me from you, potentially giving rise to pretension, mistrust and anxiety. It's much better to acknowledge that mentally, physically and emotionally we are the same."
"According to archaeological findings our ancestors lived in Tibet during the Stone Age. There are traces in North-east Tibet that are 30,000 years old, while evidence in Central Tibet is 10,000 years old and in other places 7,000 years old. There is no doubt Tibetans are an ancient people. During the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries the Tibetan Emperors were on a par with their Mongolian and Chinese counterparts," His Holiness said.
"However, before the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet, the way of life was similar to that of Mongolia. The people were nomadic and their horses and swords were their most important possessions. After the Abbot, Adept and King, that is Shantarakshita, Padmasambhava and Trisong Deutsan established Buddhism this changed," he added.
Hordes of devotees from neighbouring Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and other places came to meet His Holiness at the festival.